Outpouring of generosity as shutdown shows no signs of ending
The partial government shutdown enters its 27th day, the longest in U.S. history, Thursday with no end in sight. The standstill hinges on President Donald Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion to pay for a southern border wall that he promised during his campaign. Democrats, who control the House, call the wall “ineffective and expensive” and have refused to approve billions for the wall tied to funding legislation. As a result, some 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or forced to work without pay, and the loss of government services is affecting millions more Donations have poured in for workers affected by the shutdown as people have donated diapers, juice, garbage bags and canned soup, according to the Associated Press. Some businesses are also offering furloughed federal workers a little relief ranging from free meals, restaurant discounts to deferring payments and zero-interest loans.
North Korean negotiator expected to arrive in Washington for talks
North Korea’s top nuclear negotiator is expected to arrive in Washington, D.C., Thursday ahead of a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to a South Korean newspaper. Experts say the rare visit, made by Kim Yong Chol, could signal progress in arranging a second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump. Speculation has focused on Vietnam as the preferred location for the summit, with a report from a South Korean newspaper last week claiming U.S. and North Korean officials have already met in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi. A second Trump-Kim summit would seek to push forward a diplomatic process that has slowed since their historic meeting in Singapore last year. Vice President Mike Pence told about 180 U.S. ambassadors on Wednesday the U.S. is still waiting for North Korea to take “concrete steps” to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.
Judge set to issue verdict in Chicago police cover-up case
A judge is expected to announce a verdict Thursday in the trial of three Chicago police officers charged with conspiring to cover up a fellow officer’s actions surrounding the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Officer Thomas Gaffney, former Officer Joseph Walsh and former Detective David March face charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct for allegedly filing false reports to protect their colleague, Officer Jason Van Dyke. The 2014 shooting was one in a series of deadly confrontations between law enforcement and black men and women that sparked citywide protests, sullied the reputation high-ranking political leaders and spurred a national conversation on policing. Van Dyke was convicted by a jury in October of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery — one for each bullet he shot McDonald with.
Social media star, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez to give Twitter training
The House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee is hosting a social media training session Thursday morning with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Rep. Jim Himes of Connecticut “on the most effective ways to engage constituents on Twitter and the importance of digital storytelling.” The lesson comes as a generational divide between members of Congress and the tech platforms they oversee has been on full display. The decision to invite Ocasio-Cortez, 29, the youngest member of Congress who happens to have 2.42 million followers on Twitter, signals the party’s attempt to bring in fresh voices — even when those voices don’t always agree with leadership.
Thursday is D-Day for New Year’s resolutions
You’re probably going to fail at your New Year’s resolution on Thursday. It seems Jan. 17 is the day most people give up on good intentions and fall back into old habits. Strava, the social network for athletes that tracks runs and bike rides, looked at more than 31.5 million online entries and found that day is when most people bail out on their resolutions. But wait, there is good news! For those who do stick with it past Thursday, about 40 percent are successful at the six-month mark, according to John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton. So how do you keep your 2019 resolutions going past 2019? This might help.
Contributing: Associated Press